In the digital marketing age, things move at the speed of light. Add COVID into the mix, and all of the sudden, people have taken to virtual spaces like never before. Here at Ruby Porter, we pride ourselves in innovative and clever digital marketing, and we’ve been closely watching trends emerge, as we all figure out what’s coming next. Ready for some tips and tricks to market your business virtually and brighten people’s day, while addressing the ever-present virus-that-shall-not-be-named? Let’s get started.
- Honesty is the BEST policy at all times, but especially now. Inform your customers and clients about what’s going on with your business. Are you closed physically, but open virtually? Let them know. Not sure when you’ll be open next? Keep that message in communication. Even if you are closed, stay in communication. Your customers will value this more than anything. Loyalty lies with businesses that are transparent, and people will be thrilled to keep supporting you however they can.
- Give an insight into who you are. This is the perfect time to show people a behind-the-scenes of your offices, stores, restaurants, or whatever it may be. Give virtual tours–you don’t need to worry about crowds! Create conversation flow by inviting your customers to ask you questions about who’s behind the company. Introduce yourself and your employees. This is a unique time to keep people engaged, even if you’re closed for the time being. Take advantage of those Instagram and Facebook stories!
- Keep your channels current. Whether you only advertise through one channel or multiple social media accounts, it’s best to send out updates about your business, and delete any account with old news that you don’t have the energy to tend to. Going live for a few minutes a day to engage with your audience will let them know you’re interested in keeping an open line of communication, and can help them receive information quickly. While no one wants to be bombarded, people ARE on social media a lot more right now, and it will take a little effort to stay in their feeds.
- Tailor your posts to your customer base. If you own a restaurant, consider posting a recipe or two. Have a health practice? Give your clients tips and tricks on healthy habits they can adopt at home. Retail shops can feature products and give information about how to care for their items. Whatever your profession, there are dozens of ways to talk to your customers about interesting topics. Encourage engagement with questions or polls. Here is a social media planner that we use with our clients, to help get the juices flowing.
- Shout out other local businesses. At a time like this, we all need to come together. The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce has done an amazing job highlighting various businesses via Facebook, and the Chamber of Medford & Jackson County started a group called Southern Oregon Strong. The Springfield Chamber of Commerce has put together a Coronavirus Business Resource Hub. Give your neighbors a little boost and mention the best thing about them, and let’s get this trend going!
A few more tips to send you on your way…
- Join or create your own Facebook group. For instance, the group Eugene/Springfield Takeout and Delivery has soared to over 5,000 members in just about two weeks, with the purpose of creating a forum where people can get information about which restaurants are delivering, and which you can order takeout from. See a need? Create a group.
- Look at what your competition is doing, and jump ahead of them. Take note of what they’re not doing, and do that (we’re talking social media and website updates, as well as Google ads).
- Keep your website and Google My Business account updated with hours, where people can reach you, how they can order online, etc.
- Learn some new tools, especially videoconferencing tools like Zoom. Stay in touch with your staff and reach out to networking groups to see if you can join in. You may make some great new contacts! (If you’re wondering, we’ve also got some tips and tricks about video conferencing best practices.)
- Keep your communication fluid and try not to panic. Don’t make any hasty decisions when talking to your customers.
We know this time is frightening for a wide variety of reasons. However, it can also be a time for deep creativity, strong leadership and innovation. Ruby Porter CEO Robert Steck says that it’s times like these to step on the gas, not the brakes. Small businesses are the heart and soul of every town, and we’re proud to not only be a small business in Oregon, but that our clientele is made up of them.
If you have questions regarding all of this, please reach out to us–we can help. We’ll all get through this together!